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Eco / Living | 06.10.2014

How to reduce your phthalate exposure this Christmas

 

It's less than 12 week till Christmas (yikes!) and around this time of year we usually take the opportunity to remind our blog readers to avoid buying Christmas gifts containing phthalates, and that includes plastic Christmas wrapping.

First — what are phthalates?

In short, they are a group of chemicals added to plastics to make them flexible and added to cosmetics as a lubricant.

There are many types of phthalates. The most common are DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate), BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate), and DMP (dimethyl phthalate).

Crazy stuff phthalates are doing to our health

Studies continue to mount indicating phthalates to be ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS (chemicals that interfere with healthy hormone function).

The latest study from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism linked phthalates to reduced levels of testosterone in boys aged 6-12 and men and women ages 40-60.

The authors of the study write: "This may have important public health implications, since low testosterone in young boys can negatively impact reproductive development, and in middle age can impair sexual function, libido, energy, cognitive function, and bone health in men and women."

A Taiwanese study found phthalates pass from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby, causing abnormal sexual development.

Pregnant women exposed to phthalates in the workplace were found to be two to three times more likely to deliver boys with the reproductive birth defect known as hypospadias.Some studies have also linked phthalates to premature birth.

Where do you find phthalates?

An easier question is where DON'T you find phthalates?

They are in plastic food and beverage containers, wrapping paper, non-certified organic cosmetics and perfumes, anything fragranced, nail polish, carpeting, new cars, medical devices, shower curtains, raincoats, plastic toys, dairy products, meat and tap water.

In fact, phthalates are so ubiquitous studies have shown these insidious chemicals are found in the urine of 95% of the American population.

How to avoid phthalates this Christmas:

Are you concerned about the widespread use of phthalates and do you think they should be banned?

@bymukti

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